Beat the Heat

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When everyone tries to outsmart each other, the end result is usually collective gridlock where no one moves forward.

Stuck in the sweltering summer heat at home on a Sunday afternoon due to a power cut in my locality, I made a clever plan to seek refuge at the nearby mall. Little did I know my chilling adventure would turn into a heated ordeal.

As I started my bike and prepared to ride just two kilometers to the mall, I met congestion at the traffic signal, which was caused by non-functioning lights due to the power outage. To my dismay, the congestion worsened as each vehicle tried to move ahead, creating an even bigger jam.

Finding myself trapped in maddening congestion with cars honking and tempers flaring, I felt like I was slowly roasting under the mid-noon sun.

Clutching my bike tightly, struggling to move an inch, I felt the searing heat of the direct sun piercing through me. With the humidity exacerbating the situation, it seemed as if the heat and humidity were sent by The Nature to teach us about the consequences of climate change. The relentless afternoon sun beat down mercilessly, wrapping me in what felt like a frying pan.

With each passing minute, I felt like I was melting away, desperately seeking an escape from this chaos. Seeing others sitting in their cars with the air conditioning on only added fuel to the fire, intensifying my agony. It’s true what they say: envy only amplifies the pain.

Amidst the chaos, I realized it was better to move under the tree shadows to get some relief, but the trees were in the middle of the road divider. I was on the other lane and needed to cross horizontally to reach that lane. As I tried to maneuver my bike to that side, I struggled to find small gaps to pass through, making it a laborious task. When I finally found a narrow gap between two cars and tried to take my bike towards the tree shade, one car driver rolled down his window and cautioned me not to pass, worried that his brand-new car might get scratched. My body was getting scorched by the heatwave, yet it seemed the car held more value than a human being. Feeling helpless and unable to bear the heat, I noticed a bank ATM on my side of the road and thought it would be better to go inside for some time, parking my bike behind a stationary auto. But to my utter dismay, there was a display board showing “Out of Service.”

Not all solutions lie in looking forward; often, they can be found by looking backward. That’s why we say it is important to assess the situation with a 360-degree view.

By this time, sweat had drenched me completely, making me feel dehydrated. Helplessly looking here and there, praying for the arrival of a traffic inspector to manage the signal, I couldn’t help but wonder how highly educated individuals like us manage to lose sight of basic civic sense.

As the traffic situation went from bad to worse, with everyone trying to outsmart each other and ending up in a jam, it felt like a comedy of errors orchestrated by the summer heat.

While enduring this nightmare, I suddenly heard an ambulance siren approaching on our side of the road. I thought, “Now things will move…” and felt a bit of relief, expecting people to clear the way. But to my dismay, the driver of the ambulance backed up to avoid the jam, turned back, and took an alternative route. All my hopes vanished in an instant. I regretted my decision to go to the mall for air conditioning, only to end up in this ordeal. There was no sign of any police inspector, and car honking was constantly blaring as if honking the cars would help solve the problem.

But then, the ambulance driver’s wit and quick decision to turn back inspired me to follow his path. I thought, “Why not do the same and escape this mess?” Without a moment’s delay, I asked a few fellow bikers behind me to relay the message to others to turn back as well.

Everyone liked the idea and began to act on it. Slowly, we saw the results as vehicles started to turn back. Just as my turn came, I heard a traffic inspector’s whistle. Thank you.

Not all solutions lie in looking forward; often, they can be found by looking backward. That’s why we say it is important to assess the situation with a 360-degree view.

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5 Responses on this post

  1. Puranaji- well written. It is said that there is no harm in taking a step back when you are in a deadlock.



  2. Very inspiring and powerful message put in simple words. Every day incidents can teach us big lessons about good decision making… 👍

  3. Very interesting story . Author vividly captures the frustration and challenges faced during seemingly a day to day situation of a power outage & the resultant collective gridlock caused , gives a real life feeling of being trapped in a chaotic and hot environment. In spite of hopeless situation ,the Protagonists still tries to figure out the solution albeit by un conventional thinking.